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Wednesday Afternoon Session - page 46 / 67





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Mr. Homer B. Oates (Wheeling, W. Va.).  I second the motion.

{The question was put to a vote and was carried unanimously.}

Chairman Fleming.  The last of the program – and it is now up to all of us to put into effect and make it work.  In that endeavor we shall need the support of the mayors and the city managers of our cities.

The president of the United States Conference of Mayors is a publisher by profession.  He has a unique distinction.  Appointed city manager of Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1929, he consented to serve only on the condition that he would be permitted to waive the $12,000 salary that went with the job and work for $1 a year instead.  The city very reluctantly, I suppose, met his terms.  Grand Rapids, I think I am safe in saying, thus got the highest-class service at the lowest price in the history of municipal government.

Since then our next speaker has been four times elected mayor of Grand Rapids.  The Honorable George W. Welsh.  [Applause.]

Hon. George W. Welsh.  General Fleming, ladies and gentlemen, might I pay my respects to two of the previous speakers, who, I consider, have made especially important contributions to this Conference?  I refer to the genial lady, Mrs. Lord, who, I consider, has given the best exposition of fire prevention that I have heard in a long, long time.  I should like to pay my respects to Mr. Walter Williams for that inspiring appeal that he made to get some action from this Conference.

I should like to tell you, General Fleming – and I was glad to hear the gentleman over there make a motion to pay some respect to President Truman on his birthday – it is a refreshing thing after years of the most terrible waste of life that civilization has ever seen, to find a group thinking and paying some attention to the saving of human life.

I am mindful of the fact, General Fleming, that a year ago you also presided at a conference on traffic safety; and now it is fire.  I rather imagine that the purpose of these conferences is to focus attention and dramatize, if possible, the need for action along these lines.

It is a significant thing that these conferences are held here in Washington, where the eyes of the Nation, at present particularly, are concentrated because of the activities of our Congress.

Doesn’t it seem just a little bit inconsistent, to put it mildly, that while here we are considering the problem of saving human life, up on the Hill last Monday a congressional committee struck from an appropriations bill a sum which is negligible in comparison with the amounts of money that have been spent, a mere $5,000,000, that wipes out the maintenance of 148 traffic control towers on airports?

This Conference dramatizes the need for fire prevention.  General, I should like to ask you – you have flown a good deal – how would you like to land on some of these airports without a traffic

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